Greogorian Chant When Is Fa Clef Used

Clefs in Gregorian chant: complete guide [with examples]

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C clef or Do clef

Look at the following musical notation that represents asyllabic melody: TheC clefis the symbol at the top left of the score, which is highlighted in red. If you look closely at the shape of this clef, you will see that it closely resembles the letter C. According to what you can see, it has been placed on the fourth line of the four-line staff, known as the tetragram, which was historically used by Medieval monks to notateGregorian chant. It’s vital to note that the C clef can be placed in any of the four lines of the staff, depending on the situation.

In this example, you can see how the first two bars of the Gregorian melody stated above were transposed from a four-line staff to a five-line staff: Keep in mind that the frequency assigned to the note C was chosen at random since the clefs in Gregorian chant were used to help the performer identify the intervals of a certain tune rather than the precise frequencies.

F clef or Fa clef

Let me now focus my attention to the F clef and how it was represented in the Gregorian chanting system. Pay close attention to the following musical notation: Located at the top left of the four-line staff, the F clef is represented by a red circle around the sign. A square note and the C clef are combined to make this key in terms of graphical representation. When you look at the sample I’ve picked, the F clef is positioned on the third line of the staff and marks the position of the note F, as you would anticipate.

However, the great majority of Gregorian musical compositions choose to use the F clef on the third line rather than the first.

G is placed on the third line, and A is placed on the fourth line, as we progress higher.

As previously stated, theclefs in Gregorian chant are used to indicate the relationships between half and whole notes, not to indicate an absolute frequency, so you are free to begin the piece at any pitch you want.

Rather than starting with the note C, as written on the staff, the performer who performs this rendition ofUt queant laxis begins with a note D. Take a listen to this:

Gregorian Chant Notation

Let us now focus our attention to the F clef and how it was represented in the Gregorian chanting system. This musical notation should be carefully examined: Located at the top left of the four-line staff, the F clef is that symbol with a red circle around it. A square note is combined with the C clef to create this key in terms of graphical representation. When you look at the sample I’ve picked, the F clef is positioned on the third line of the staff and marks the position of the note F, just as you would anticipate.

  1. On the other hand, the F clef is placed on the third line of the great majority of Gregorian musical charts.
  2. G is placed on the third line, and A is placed on the fourth line, as the alphabet progresses higher.
  3. As previously stated, if you wish to sing this Gregorian chant in accordance with the original notation, you may begin the piece at any pitch you choose.
  4. In actuality, the individual who performs this rendition of Ut queant laxis does not begin the chant with the note C, as written on the staff, but instead begins with the note D.
  1. In addition to the fact that it is performed in unison, but it was also constructed as a unisonous (monodic) chant without any accompanying harmonic support
  2. The fact that the solo sections are differentiated from the choruses by a melodically rich structural framework
  3. Despite the fact that it lacks a definite and regular structure of bars or time, it does not lack rhythmic flow or a well-balanced proportion of elements
  4. In other words, the numerous time-valuses are never generated, as is the case in modern music, by dividing them into one-half, two-fourths, four-eighths, eight-sixteenths, and so forth, but rather by repetition of the time-units, resulting in combinations of two, three, or more units
  5. Due to the fact that there are no accidentals other than the simple in the version now being sung, and since two semitones may never follow in the same way, the melody is strictly diatonic

Using the Editio Vaticana (Vatican Edition of the Chant), Pope Pius X returned to the Church this music that has been validated by documents dating back to the ninth century.

In the Gregorian system of notation there arefour lineswhich are numbered upwards, so that the top line is the fourth. The notes, for the most part square in shape, are placed on the lines or between the spaces, being named as follows:
do (c) re (d) me (e) fa (f) sol (g) la (a) si (b) si♭ (b♭)

The placement of one of two clefs, theDo (C)clef or theFa (F)clef, determines the pitch of the notes being played. Every note that happens on the line where theDo clefis put is referred to asdo (c), and similarly, notes that occur on the line where theFa clefis placed are referred to asfa (c) (f). When used on the fourth line, the Do clef may be put on the third or second line; when used on the third line, the Fa clef may be placed on the fourth line, although less rarely on the fourth.

At the end of each line, seldom in the middle of a phrase, a sign in the form of a small note is placed to indicate the pitch of the first note of the next line or passage, and called thereforecustos(watchman, guide).

In the Vatican version, these symbols denote divisions in the melody as well as pauses between sections. The latter, consisting of a stroke over four lines, is used to bring a sentence to an end and is referred to as a whole pause (divisoorpausa major). The last “notes are sungritardandoand a deep breath is taken” are played here. In the first case, “diviso minimum,” which is a stroke through the fourth line of the stave, “denotes a brief pause, providing a chance, when necessary, for a quick breath.” (P.V., Preface to the Vatican Edition, Preface to the Vatican Edition) In addition, two more strokes (which are not shown) are employed.

After a slightrallentando, a breath is taken in this instance as well.

It also serves to bring each portion of music meant to be performed by alternate choirs, such as theandCredo, to a conclusion.

While thePunctum indicates a lower note than thevirga, thevirga indicates a higher note than thePunctum and vice versa.

TheRhombusandQuilismaare never used together: therhombusis used in descending sections, the higher note of which is frequently an avirga; thequilismais used solely in ascending melodies; and theRhombusandQuilismaare never used together. Take note of the fact that theVirga is a woman.

  1. It is possible to utilize it for both accented and unaccented syllables in words. This shape has no more time-value (sound duration) than thepunctumandrhombus.

All of these notes have the exact same time-value as one another. Nuems are a combination of two or more notes in a separate group that are played simultaneously. One of the most basic types of accentuation is the coupling of an accentuation tone with an accentuation tone, that is, a higher tone combined with lower tone or vice versa, to create theaccèntus accùtus. a)Neums with two notes are as follows:

TheClivis(declívis, inclined) orFlexa(bent); the combination of a higher with a lower note.
ThePes(foot), also calledPodátus; the combination of a lower tone (sung first) with a higher one.

Neums with three notes: B)Neums with three notes:

TheTòrculus(torquère, to turn); the middle note higher than the other two.
ThePorrèctus(porrìgere, to extend); the middle note lower than the other two.
TheTristropha; three notes of the same pitch, almost always onfaanddo.
TheClimacus(climax, ladder); a combination of three (or more) descending notes.
TheScándicus(scándere, to ascend); a combination of three (or more) ascending notes.

Aneums with four notes: The fourth note is higher (resupinus, bent backwards) than the third: Aneums with four notes Note that the fourth note is higher (resupinus) than the third note in C neums with four notes: Note that the fourth note is higher (resupinus) than the third note in the neums with four notes: Neums with five notes: D)Neums with five notes: (Under Construction) Neums in a liquescent state.

When we find:a)two or three consonants together, especially if the first of them is l, m, n, r, s, t, d(sanctus, a dextris meis, magnus, subjécit),b)a diphthong, two vowels, orjbetween two vowels(autem, euge, allelja, ejus),c)occasionally alsogandmbetween two vowels( “Because the very structure of the syllables encourages the voice to glide easily from one to the next, so that it becomes, as it were, “liquid,” and, when restricted in the mouth, appears to have no end and loses about half of its volume, but not of its length,” the author writes.

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See Guid.Microl., c.

for further information.

TheCephálicus(little head), a modified form of theClivis,
TheEpiphonus(added note), a modified form of thePes,
TheAncuc(curve), a modified form of theClinacus,
A New School of Gregorian ChantbyThe Rev. Dominic Johner O.S.B., 1912

Gregorian notation

Previous pagenext page Previous pagenext page The essential ideas of Gregorian notation, as well as the method of producing scores in Gregorian notation with Harmony-Melody, are introduced in this chapter. If you are unfamiliar with this notation, we hope that reading this chapter will pique your interest and prompt you to learn more about it. Here’s an example of a gregorian staff created using Harmony-Melody software: In the Demos folder, you will find some gregorian music that you may use (“Gregorian” subfolder).

  1. C, D, E, F, G, and A are the notes that make up the scale in contemporary notation.
  2. Notes are written on a four-line staff to keep them organized.
  3. Only notepitchis are stated; the choir master(or vocalist) is allowed to pick the length of the piece.
  4. Places where the vocalist can take a breath (and relax) are also mentioned.
  5. The words of chants are typically always connected with the staff, which makes sense given that we’re talking about them.

All of the notes that are sung on the same word or syllable are grouped together into an entity known as aNeume. Neumes are the second of the four elements. The neume is the fundamental unit of Gregorian notation. It is the first letter of the alphabet. Aneumeis is defined as follows:

  • The notes that make up the neume (numbered one through four)
  • How long the intervals between these notes are (whether they are upward or downward)

Each of the neumes has a unique name. Notice how the notes inside the neume are represented by a square, a diamond, or a bold line? A neume is usually the first syllable of a syllable that it appears in. When notes are written on the same column, a neume is always read from left to right (as in contemporary notation), but from bottom to top when notes are placed on different columns. As an illustration: Here are three notes in contemporary notation for your consideration. When comparing the first and second, it is important to note that pitchis increased, and then raised again when comparing the second and third.

As a result, a single neume might have up to three different pitch shifts (inflexions).

Each one has a unique moniker.

Numberof notes Inflexions Neume name
1 None Punctum (simple note) or Virga (note with stem)
2 Up (U) Podatus (pes)
2 Down (D) Clivis (flexa)
3 UU Scandicus
3 UD Torculus
3 DU Porrectus
3 DD Climacus
4 UUU Virga praetripuncits
4 UUD Scandus flexus
4 UDU Torculus resipunus
4 UDD Pes subtripunctis
4 DUU Porrectus resupinus
4 DUD Porrectus flexus
4 DDU Climacus resupinus
4 DDD Virga subtripunctis

Here is a neume for you to practice with. Look up the name of the object in the preceding array (answer at the bottom of this page)

Note:Neume names are given only for information. Itwill not be necessary to know these names to work with Harmony-Melody.

Here’s a neume for you to practice with. Look for it in the list above by its name (answer at the bottom of this page)

  • The type of neume that is located under your mouse cursor (together with the note pitches that are present)
  • The type of neume you will get if you combine thenote with thenote

If a neume already has four notes, this information is highlighted in the help line; if you attempt to add a fifth note to a neume that already contains four notes, an error warning is presented and the fifth note is not included. For example, to insert a note at the beginning of a neume, click on the right line before the neume. To insert a remark at the end of a neume, click on the right line after the neume. To insert a remark in the center of a neume, simply click on the appropriate spot within the neume.

Tip:Notes are sometimes graphically very close togetherwithin a neume. To be sure of clicking at the right place, increase thedisplay scale of your document.

An error message is provided if the neume already has four notes; if you attempt to add a fifth note to a neume that already contains four notes, an error message is presented and the fifth note is not added. The right line should be clicked before the neume in order to add a remark at the beginning of the neume. The right line should be clicked after the neume if you want to add a remark to it. The right spot in the neume must be clicked in order to insert a note in the center of it.

  • Choosing a time signature for the document is required if you want to sync several Gregory staves (or a gregorian staff with a standard staff). With a 16/4 time signature, on the other hand, you may write 32 puncta in a single bar
  • Nevertheless, the position of the neume graphic inside the bar is not fully free. The addition of a punctum immediately following a four-note neume will not be feasible since the area required by a neume is always the total of the corresponding puncta
  • Nonetheless, it will be possible to cut and paste between gregorian and contemporary staves. Some sets of notes (for example, chords) can, on the other hand, produce odd outcomes when written on a gregorian staff.

In order to synchronize many gregorian staves (or a gregorian staff with a conventional staff), you must pick a timesignature for the document in question. It is possible to write 32 puncta in a single bar of 16/4 time signature, although the position of the neume graphic inside the bar is not totally flexible. The addition of a punctum immediately following a four-note neume will be impossible since the space occupied by a neume is always the total of the corresponding puncta; nonetheless, it will be feasible to cut and paste between gregorian and contemporary staves….

Reading chant notation

In the years before I learned to read neumes or chant notation, I was completely unable to sight-sing and had to rely almost exclusively on a keyboard in order to learn how to sing new songs.

Now I am able to sight-read from chant notation, and as a result, my sight-singing ability in contemporary notation has much increased. Listed below is a brief introduction that will not cover every sign but will get you started with the ones that you will see the most often.

The very basics

If you are already familiar with the fundamentals of music theory, you may probably skip this part. Everybody is familiar with the fundamental musical scale: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. Sing it out loud! We can write it like this in modern music notation: In modern music notation, we can write it like this: Plainchant is built on the foundation of this basic scale. Basic re-arrangement of the notes of this simple scale into different orders results in all of the melodies of plainchant. In contrast to current music notation, there are no notes from A to G, no sharps and flats, and no major and minor keys can be found.

  1. Observe how much smaller the difference in pitch is between re and mi when you sing the step between mi and fa numerous times.
  2. A similar statement may be made about the distinction between ti and do when comparing la and ti.
  3. The musical scale contains eight notes, but it is not divided into seven equal steps.
  4. As a result, the large steps are referred to as whole steps or whole tones, while the little steps are referred to as half steps or semitones.
  5. In order to figure this out, chant notation provides us with two symbols known as clefs.
  6. Two clefs are used in music: one is called the do clef and is written on the line where do is, and the other, the fa clef, is written on the line where fa is…
  7. It is written in the do and the fa clef.
  8. A step in the scale is represented by each line and space that counts up or down from the line on which the clef is written, relative to the notes on that line.

A half-step separates both clefs from the note printed in the space below them; where they differ is in the number of whole steps between that note and the next half-step, and the number of whole steps between the clef and the following half-step above the clef till the next half-step.

Practical examples

Consider the introduction of one of the most renowned tunes in the Gregorian chant repertory, the Dies irae from the Requiem mass, as an example of how to put this into practice. Numerous different pieces of music have used this short phrase as a starting point. Because the do clef is written on the first line of the staff, we must count lines and spaces along the staff in order to determine where all of the other notes are printed: Because they’re placed next to each other, we can tell that the first note of the melody is the letter fa.

  1. Sing the words ‘do, re, mi, fa’.
  2. If you want to repeat this, but once you go back to the fa, proceed straight down to the re, skipping over mi completely.
  3. Consider whether you can complete the remaining notes on your own.
  4. We begin on this top do this time, rather than on the previous fa, because the clef is on the top line of the staff as previously.
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Jumping multiple notes

When moving from one note to another in either of these songs, there have been instances where we have had to skip numerous levels in the scale; for example, in the first tune, “irae,” as well as the second tune, “world without.” In such jumps, you may use this useful chart to establish an approximate reference by counting the whole- and half-steps taken in each step.

Steps Example Modern musical name Think about …
½ do–ti Semitone The first two notes ofFür Elise
1 do–re Tone/Whole tone First two notes of the scale
do–la Minor third Bird singing ‘cuckoo’
2 do–mi Major third First two notes of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’
Perfect fourth Second and third notes of the theme to2001: A Space Odyssey
3 fa–ti Augmented fourth/diminished fifth The opening notes of ‘Purple Haze’*
do–so Perfect fifth First two notes of the theme to2001: A Space Odyssey

* The augmented fourth is extremely rare in chant since it is difficult to acquire when singing alone, and it has a sour and unmusical tone; don’t be concerned if you are unable to obtain it successfully. A difference of two positions will always be either a half-step or a whole step; a difference of three positions will always be either a minor third (if there is a half step within the lines and spaced between those positions) or a major third (if there is no half step within the lines and spaced between those positions); and a difference of four positions will almost always be a perfect fourth, and a difference of f positions will almost always be a perfect fifth, if you consider each line In chant, leaps that are greater than a perfect fifth are extremely unusual.

Creating one is generally simplest if you divide it down into numerous sections in your thoughts and then simply sing the beginning and ending notes of each section.

That means, you must be able to sing and distinguish the differences between a semitone, tone, third, fourth, and fifth immediately ‘by ear,’ without the need of any reference materials or charts.

While it is possible to learn decent relative pitch in a weekend or two, each person will have their own preferred way, which can be found on Google with a variety of alternatives.

One more practical example

One more practical example that is a somewhat more difficult to understand before we move on to some of the more technical aspects of the notation. This one is the beginning of the Sanctus from John Merbecke’s setting of the Anglican communion ceremony, which you can hear here (1549). We are making our first use of the fa clef, but we are still starting on the note do and progressing up the first three notes of the scale to finish the piece. It’s worth a shot!

One syllable, multiple notes

A distinguishing trait of advanced Gregorian chant is the tendency to sing a large number of notes to the same syllable at the same time. A melisma is a figurative expression that represents this (plural melismata). Chant notation is written in the same way you’d expect it to be, with many square notes above a single syllable, but there are a few subtleties to be aware of. A note that appears to the right of another note is sung after it, and this is the fundamental rule of Gregorian chant. Example: In this psalm’s tone ending, there are melismata from mi to re on the word “out” and from fa to me on the word “end,” as you might expect: However, because mediaeval monks were limited by the amount of space available on their pricey vellum sheets, they developed a number of abbreviations that are still in use today.

Here is the alleluia that is sung at the beginning of the office’s opening responses (note that the do clef is on the third line from the bottom, rather than on the first line): In this instance, we find a melisma from do to re on the letter ‘le,’ and another from do to ti on the letter ‘ia.’ If the melismata move down and then back up, they are written in a slightly different way.

The swoosh does not imply a glide or glissando from the first to the second note in any way!

If you look closely at some melismata, you may see that some notes are written with a diamond note () rather of a square note ().

In terms of sound, there is no difference between diamond and square notes; nonetheless, a diamond note never appears on its own; instead, it always appears inside the same syllable as the previous square note that occurred before it.

Consider giving it a shot; if you don’t succeed, or if your performance takes significantly longer than the others, don’t be concerned. Long melismata might be intimidating to play!

A lie exposed

As I mentioned at the outset of this book, all of plainchant’s melodies may be constructed by simply rearranging the notes of a basic scale in different sequences. In contrast to current music notation, there are no notes from A to G, no sharps and flats, and no major and minor keys can be found. Now I have to admit that this is a fabrication. I realize this is really un-Christian, immoral, and so forth. — On Sunday, I’ll be coming clean about it. In my defense, it is just a little fabrication, and an apedagogical one at that, because I didn’t want to overcomplicate things at the outset of the conversation.

(In the same way that “te” rhymes with “re,” so does “ti” rhyme with “me.”) In the case of la and te, the difference is a half-step, whereas the difference between te and do is a whole step.

(Don’t be concerned if this wasn’t immediately clear; all that is required is an understanding that the whole-step and half-step at the top of the scale have been switched.) The flat sign in chant notation is very identical to the flat sign in contemporary notation seen above.

That is, the two songs following are identical in terms of musical composition: Despite the fact that it is not officially known as the’so clef,’ you may conceive of the do clef with this flat sign as being used for reading reasons.

And finally, a short note on rhythm

When plainchant is performed nowadays, only a few number of rhythmic characteristics are regarded to be musically significant. With the exception of these, the beat is either equivalent to speech rhythm (in which lengthier parts are spoken on a single note) or has equal duration on each note. One method of indicating rhythm is to write the same note for the same syllable twice in a row on the same line. According to what you might assume, this means you spend almost twice as much time on one note as you do on the others.

In this example, we should spend almost twice as much time on the ‘dore’ in ‘adore’ as we would on the ‘a’ or the ‘O’ at the beginning of the sentence.

This is the same as in current musical notation in that it indicates to prolong the length of the note without nearly doubling its length completely.

Plainchant also contains other rhythmic signs, such as the episema, which is a line placed above or below some notes, which also has the effect of lengthening or emphasizing their duration, and thequilisma, which is a wavy note () in a melisma which is sung short, with the previous note sung longer in order to compensate (similar to a dotted rhythm in modern notation), but you don’t really need to know about them to perform


Make an attempt at reading the following little samples from the Gregorian chant repertory. Some of them are well-known, while others are less well-known.

More resources to practice with

Briggs and Frere’s Manual of Plainsong is considered to be the definitive book on English plainchant. In its original version, formit employed a non-standard simplified notation; however, according to David Stone, it has been reconstructed in normal plainchant notation, which is excellent fer practicing reading the notation. This book has all of the psalms written out in their entirety (there is no pointing on the text!) as well as the canticles for morning and evening prayer and other passages from the Anglican prayer book.

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(As St Augustine did not say, qui cantat bis orat— whomever sings prays twice— whoever sings prays once more!) Later on, if your singing skills improve, you can progress to the more “solemn” versions of the Magnificat and Benedictus (one of which is listed above in Latin), which were originally reserved for feast days while the simpler versions were used for ferias.

It also goes through all of the signs that are used in chant notation in the preface, including the ones that I didn’t mention here.

Rubricically speaking, it’s a headache to wrap your brain around, but when he’s through, we’ll have what is arguably the world’s largest single archive of English plainchant, according to some estimates.

Gregorian Chant Notation

2. GREGORIAN NOTATIONManuscript:”A Child was born for us and the Son has beengiven to us” In the 11th century the repertoire of chants in the Church coveredalready the feast of each day and of each event of the Liturgy.The sacred texts had its own characteristic and variety of forms:Introits, Antiphons, Graduals, Hallelujahs, Offertories, Communions,Sequences, etc. to which it should be added those parts of the Liturgycalled “Ordinary”: Kyries, Glorias, Creeds, etc.All this had to be entrusted to the memory of singers who did nothave any musical help, except some marks on the text indicatingsimply when the melody rose or descended just as is shown in theabove manuscript. Of course, the conservation of the chants entrustedonly to the good memory did that they were in danger to disappear.Initially the musical notation served like an aid-to-the-memoryfor whom already had an idea about how should sound. It not wasintended that notation was “scientifically” precise. Theconcept that a melody can be sung reading correctly the score (withoutthe need of having listened previously) is something relativelyvery new.The oldest examples of musical notation in Western Europe werea kind of writings more as annotations for the texts that were sung.On the other side, the purpose of notation was more that of indicatingthe expressive character to stand out the subtleties of the vocalexpression than that of indicating the height of the melodic notes(at present a great deal of investigation is going on by musicologistsspecialized in Medieval music).Fortunatelya benedictin monk named Guido d’ Arezzo (Italy 990 – 1050) foundthe solution. From the hymn of the Eves of St John the Baptist feastd’Arezzo organized what would be later the scale:UT queant laxis (C)RE sonare fibris (D)MI ragestorum (E)FA muli tuorum (F),SOL vepolluti (G)LA bii reatum (A),S ancteI oannes (SI —B—). Seethe score of the hymne.He invented the stave of four lines; of them, a yellow line wouldbe UT (subsequently became DO —C—) and a red line wouldindicate FA (F); this would give origin later to the notion of theclefs.1. HEIGHT OF THE SOUNDS The height of the sounds is indicated by the location of the notesin a stave of four lines, with the possibility to use lower andupper additional lines.The clefs are of DO (C) and of FA (F) which can be in the second,third or fourth line.The possible extension is:Simple notes Here is presented, in its order, the primitive notation, the presentGregorian notation and its equivalent one in modern notation.Virga=Stick; Punctum quadratum=square point, Punctum inclinatum=inclinedpoint.Simple neumesPes, Podatus of the Latin foot; Torculus, of thelatin torquere=to twist, by its broken form; Porrectus, of the Latinporrigere=to extend, by the extended form of its lines; Climacus,of climax=stair; Scandicus, of scandere=to rise; Salicus of salire=tojump.Compound neumes
  • Individual syllables that are generated by connecting basic neumes to make a single unit of speech.
  • Those who carry a greater number of notes before or after are referred to as: Flexus: when ascending notes are used in conjunction with a flexus

When they are accompanied with rising notes, they are referred to as resupini. Notes before or after the praepunctis or subpunctis, depending on whether they are included: Neumes that are unique

  • The neumes that contain the last one or two notes of lesser size are referred to as licuescens or semivowels, and the goal of these notes is to draw the listener’s attention to the right pronunciation of the text in the first place. Ancus, sometimes known as anepiphonus, is used to refer to the Pes, Clivis, and Climacus licuescens species of lizard. The smallest size of the lisquescens note does not signify any change in the length of time it is valid for
  • Pressus (from the Latin premo=to press, to halt), which is the coincidence in height of the last note of a neume with the start note of another neume in the same syllable, is found in the following neumes: It is also offered in the context of a punctum and a neume.
  • A jagged note with quilisma (from the Greek külo=to revolve, to roll) is used to unite two notes that have been separated by a third interval. It is never presented on its own terms. A considerable lengthening of the note that precedes the quilisma is required, but it must not be repeated in length.

Neumes that are aesthetically pleasing

  • There are three different ways in which the strophicus (from Greek strophao, which means to rotate) can be represented:
  • It is a punctum quadratum that is put at the extremity of a neume (from the Greek óros, which means limit or height, hill).
  • In the case of Bivirga and Trivirga, the union of two or threevirgas is required to make them. (Virga=Stick. Bivirga and Trivirga are two and three sticks, respectively
  • Bivirga and Trivirga are three sticks.


  • The horizontal episema is put on one or more notes and indicates expressive and light expansion of those sounds: it is represented by a horizontal line in music. The note with the ictus in the salicus should be protracted as if it had episema, according to the rules. The episema stretches the note a bit further, but it does not repeat it in any way. Contrary to the vertical episema, which is typically often positioned under the note and signifies the binary or ternary steps (see the section on Rhythm), this episema is horizontal.
  • Distropha and Tristropha should be carried out in a flexible and light manner to maximize their effectiveness. It is required that the repercussion occurs on the first note of each of them, as well as in the first note of the neume that follows them if they are all at the same height
  • A tristropha can have ictus as its third note, which can be performed with repercussion. The oriscus is always of a smooth texture to the touch. A clear, forceful, and double sound should be produced by the two notes of the pressus (the distropha, tristropha, and theoriscus never combine to make pressus). Bivirga and trivirga should be conducted in the same manner as the strophicus, although their repercussions are more well-known. The scandicus, which has the melodic structure D-A-B, should be performed in the same manner as a salicus.
Examples of repercussion:4. SIGNS OF PAUSE (bars). The signs of pause, originated by the structure of the text, are:a) Minimum dividing line, that separates theclauses or smaller parts in which the text is divided; it doesnot imply to breath.b) Smaller dividing line, that separates themembers of phrase. These are not more than clauses of greateramplitude; it implies to breath almost always.c) Greater dividing line that separates thephrases: Equals to a silence of simple duration of a note andobliges to breathe.d) Double dividing line, that indicates greaterconclusive or also final sense of the composition. It equals toa simple silence of a note, at times prolonged a little more.5. OTHER SIGNS Custos: The custos is a sign that goes at the end of each stave. This isnot sung, instead it serves as a visual cue to the pitch of thefirst note on the next line. Also it is used when inside a samemusical piece there is a change of clef.B Flat:In Gregorian Chant the only accidental isB flat (rarely)which is indicated bya B Flat sign. The Flat affects not only the note B thatcarries it but to the others that appear later and it is canceledby the change of word, by any dividing line or by the natural sign.The B Flat at the foot of the clef remains during all the pieceand is canceled only by the natural sign.”Euouae”The Liber Usualis provides a cue for singing the “GloriaPatri” after the introit verse. “Euouae” indicatesthe vowels of the syllables of “saeculorum Amen”, whichends the “Gloria Patri”._SeeMARTINEZ SOQUES, Fernando. Método de Canto Gregoriano, CapítulosVI y VII. Ed. Pedagógica. Barcelona, 1943. See an interestingpage in which the evolution in the systems of the Chant Notationis shown.

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